What the horse whisperer taught me… Guest Post

Nature can teach us so much about connecting to our Creator. My friend Dave Westbrook, of CountryLivingUniversity.com does a great job of capturing one of those lessons in today’s guest post. Enjoy,  and be sure to check out his website. – Richie

They say that all horses deserve at least once in their lives to be loved by a little girl. Actually, it seems even more true that God has put in the heart of every little girl to have a horse. And so I found myself taking riding lessons with my daughter, thinking perhaps that would cure the bug – but it only made it stronger.

Then someone told us about a “horse whisperer” who lived about an hour away. I decided that before taking Allison to learn the fine art of horse training, I’d go for a lesson myself. Little did I know how that one day would change my life.

Within minutes, that master trainer showed me how to start bonding with that huge 1,000 Lb animal. It was amazing to watch him work with his horse – the small signals passed back and forth between human and animal. The trust – the willing obedience. I’ll never forget the moment when the trainer called my attention to one ear that was cocked at a funny angle – pointing straight at him. His eyes lit up as he said, “Look at his ear – he’s paying attention to me now!”

Immediately the verse came to mind, “My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.” Proverbs 4:20

I was hooked.

And an idea was born. What would it be like to take a green horse and start from the very beginning – with the help of our trainer of course. So I pitched the idea – would he consider it? Would he take a green horse and a green rider and take us both through the process of training from start to finish?

To my surprise, he said, “I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for years!”

And so began my horsemanship journey. We found a 2 year old quarter horse and began 2 hour sessions daily.

Perhaps the most profound lessons of all came at the very beginning. Foundational concepts about how a horse’s world works. It’s been said that “horses are poetry in motion”. And in fact, horses do define their place in the herd by motion. The more dominant horses make the others move. That old phrase “drivin’ herd” comes from the world of horses. The head horse does in fact drive herd – that’s how dominance is established.

And so we began in the round pen, making Scout move. He quickly learned that if he would face me, I’d release the pressure and let him be still. Ultimately, he learned that the place of stillness and rest is in the middle of the round pen – with me.

There are far too many experiences from working with horses to write about in this post. Profound things that have impacted my thinking about life, love, family and working with people. So I’ll just settle on that one foundational idea – motion and stillness.

It captures the essence of a better way of life God is calling us all to – “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

It’s not only good for horses – it’s good for people too.

It’s interesting to me that Psalm 46 is a chapter of extremes – flashing back and forth between motion and stillness…

Motion: “Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Psalm 46:2-3

Stillness: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved.”

Motion: “The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.”

Stillness: “The Lord of hosts is with us; the god of Jacob is our refuge. …Be still and know that I am God.”

Really, the greatest blessing of working with horses, has been that it’s been a vehicle for working with my daughter. An opportunity to transfer faith and values – using motion and stillness.

God teaches us that it’s in the center of the roundpen, close to Him where we find real quiet and rest. And it’s our privilege to teach our kids the same lesson as well – by getting out into the roundpen of life with them, and making sure that they learn that it’s in the middle, close to us where we release the pressure and let stillness do it’s work.

Dear God please help me to model it. In the motion and turbulence of this crazy world, may I demonstrate that stillness that accompanies true faith and trust, resulting in willing obedience.

And may it offer a glimpse of you…

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Dave Westbrook is an author, speaker and the founder of Country Living University, an online training program devoted to helping families achieve a country lifestyle. You can connect with him at www.CountryLivingUniversity.com.

What has God used as the “round pen” to help you find real quiet and rest? Post your comments below.

photo credit: Eduardo Amorim via photopin cc

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  1. Richie
    6 years ago

    Thanks Dave,
    This article inspired me. I’ll be thinking on what you wrote for days. I appreciate your insights.


  2. Denise
    6 years ago

    Beautiful analogy!